Introducing Jess Hislop. Our August Feature in our monthly In Bed with Zenn editorial. This month, we caught up with Jess and her delightful 3 little girls – London, Preslie & Raffie. We chat all things styling, vintage foraging, her distinct point of view and how she juggles 3 under 5!
Tell us a little about your design studio?
My design studio currently consists of myself and I work out of my newly built home in Yarraville, Melbourne. I predominately work on larger scale residential homes and only work on a select number of projects per year, as I have 3 young daughters so life is very busy. I stick to what I know best and that is providing clients with a full scale furniture and styling concept. Sourcing for every room of their home which is completely customised to the individual.
I believe you should practise what you preach and having my office in my own home is the best way to introduce clients to my individual style. They can see my collection of furniture and accessories that I have curated over many years.
What inspires you and where do you like to digest your design inspiration?
I gain a lot of inspiration from books – I have over 200 coffee table books that range from The Picasso Century to my recent favourite – Cabinet of Curiosities by Massimo Listri. I am also utterly obsessed with old heritage buildings, vintage and antique dealers and basically anything that has a history.
What is your favourite part of your creative role?
My favourite part of my creative role is when I intuitively select a piece of furniture, accessory or fabric that I just LOVE. I then show it to my client and I can see the excitement in their face and I know they love it just as much as I do. That “I just have to have it” moment when you know you’ve found something special that will bring the client joy every time they see it.
What do you look for in the pieces you specify for your projects?
Quality over quantity. I choose pieces that will last, pieces that aren’t seasonal or “on trend” but pieces that are a true investment for the client. I prefer to source a few substantial pieces that hold their own in a room – rather than lots of smaller items that fill the space.
What's your point of difference?
Since I was a little girl I’ve loved nothing more than treasure hunting. Nothing in design excites me more than the thrill of discovering old and very unique pieces. I live for the story behind them, imagining what life they lived previously and whose lives they have touched. I’m in my best design flow seeing these treasures placed in my client’s homes. These treasures paired with furniture from today creates something so individual for my client – I really do strive to be unique and to hand over homes full of special pieces that spark joy. I am also a very intuitive designer. I understand what client’s wants/needs without having to be fed too much information.
What drew you to our Willow fully upholstered beds for your twins?
I was drawn to the overall classic and versatile design of the Willow Bed. From the beginning I knew I wanted a fully upholstered bed for my girls and I wanted to move away from the neutral upholstery and use something fun and that stood out! I also wanted a bed design that they wouldn’t grow out of and would carry them through. I could not be happier with the outcome and most importantly the girls absolutely love their special beds.
Why is choosing Australian made important to you?
I think it’s really important to support our local suppliers. They work tirelessly to achieve the desired result for me and my clients. I trust their knowledge, their quality and they really do work right alongside me closely on all projects. Building relationships builds trust and this is something easily achieved when working with Australian suppliers.
Do you have any night-time rituals or have a process to help you achieve a sense of calm?
If i’m to be honest – my night-time ritual involves walking up and down the stairs 100 times trying to get the twins to sleep. Once the house is silent I then have a hot shower, plonk myself on the couch to watch one episode of whatever is the flavour of the month and then go to bed.
Calmness comes when I jump into my bed (I always have fresh sheets).
What would be your dream job?
Product design for either an accessory brand or furniture brand. I have been shopping for clients for so many years – I have always dreamed of creating things of my own to put in my projects.
Apart from that I really am blessed with my client’s that I work with. Due to the limited nature of projects I can take on, the ones that I do work on really are dream jobs. My client’s become my friends and their homes really are something dreams are made of.
What are you yearning to purchase?
Oh gosh – where do I start!
Silver bow candlesticks holders by London based artist Leo Costelloe.
Charm Bracelet wall mural by Ben Mazey (through C. Gallery). I would LOVE to commission a mural based on my life and my family. Not only is the art amazing and personal – you can add fresh flowers to some of the “charms” bringing the mural to life.
What's next for JH? (Anything you would like us to share/mention?)
I am about to finish a large residential project which I have been working on since the beginning of the year. This client has some AMAZING pieces in her home which I am excited to see all come together.
Product design – it’s an itch I need to scratch and it’s something I have been working on. Having 3 girls under 5 significantly slows my pace down – but I’ll get there... eventually.
- Sweet or Savoury? Sweet (regrettably)
- Window or Aisle seat? Aisle - makes the dash to the bathroom with the kids easier
- What are you tv bingeing? A Small Light on Disney
- Camping or resort stay? Resort
- Favourite time of the day? 6:30am. I hear the twins open their bedroom door, one stomps whilst the other tiptoes into our bedroom. They each jump into bed with me - one on each side. I literally get sandwiched between them whilst they fall back to sleep for half an hour and then everyone is up at 7. Lonny also jumps in occasionally. I know they won't do this forever so I really do cherish that special time whilst they are little.
Photo Credits + Shop the look
Willow Fully Upholstered Bed upholstered in Warwick Airlie Crimson (fabric not available in our online range, contact us to view this custom fabric.)
Bed linen – Adairs
Side Table – LH Design Hub
Lamp – CB2
Custom Bedhead Design upholstered in Mokum Grand Boucle Silk. (Contact us if you would like to discuss a custom bedhead design. Fabric not available in our online range, contact us to view this custom fabric.)
Wall light – Lighting Collective
Side table – Space Furniture
Bed linen – In Bed Store
Wall Art – Not Another Nursery
Cushions – Clumsy Cushion